Donald Evans Named Berkeley’s New Superintendent

EDUCATION | Hayward Superintendent Donald Evans was confirmed as Berkeley’s new school superintendent Wednesday and will start his new job July 1 after spending just 18 months at the helm in Hayward.

Evans would not clarify why he was leaving Hayward after spending such a short while with the district but said he is “very excited” about going to Berkeley.

“This a better fit for me,” said Evans who spoke well of Berkeley’s diversity and being “very collective.” Evans said the Hayward community has been “good to him” but wouldn’t state why he is leaving Hayward. “I’m not going to answer that,” he said with a nervous laugh.

Sources, however, have elaborated further on Evans’ departure citing the district’s problems being too difficult for him to handle and the board’s past drama, such as the Jesus Armas/Maribel Heredia sex scandal, having created an intimidating environment for Evans.

Evans formerly served as an associate superintendent in Compton, Calif. and oversaw Oakland’s elementary schools. Evans was originally named Hayward’s superintendent in November 2011 with high expectations.

Although, some inside sources in the past few months, who wish to not be named, said Evans was a “disappointment,” and are glad to see him move on. One source though spoke well of Evans but believes he is leaving because of a new board that is more aggressive towards its goals rather than what she said should be more “collaborative.”

In the past month, Evans presided over two town halls concerning his vision for Hayward, but neither of those town halls offered a distinct vision for Hayward outside of a few summer academies to help improve student literacy and math skills. Although there has been a slight uptick in the district’s API scores the district still rates the worse in the county.

Berkeley’s choice of Evans comes after the retirement of former Superintendent Bill Huyett in August 2012. The district then failed to name a permanent replacement on two occasions until finally settling on Evans.

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